Europe

Panic has set in following last Friday’s mini-Budget announcement by the Tory chancellor, as the pound collapses and borrowing costs soar. But the UK’s economic problems run deep. British capitalism is in a state of terminal decline.

In the midst of the ruination of millions Ukrainians’ lives as a consequence of the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian parliament has been pushing forward the harshest cuts to workers’ rights in the country’s history. On 1 July the parliament passed law #5371, which – among other things – increases the working week to 60 hours, and permits bosses with less than 250 employees to fire workers in the event of property damage caused by military actions or the absence from the workplace for a period of more than 4 months. This came on the heels of several other laws, which curbed trade union rights, legalised zero-hour contracts, and removed the obligation to pay the salaries of workers

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In this satirical ‘fairytale’ (originally published on Friday 30 September), marxist.com editor Alan Woods paints a picture of the ruthless right-wing takeover of the Labour Party in Britain. And if you think Alan was too harsh in his depiction of the vicious behaviour of Sir Keir Starmer and the Blairites, we encourage readers to watch the three-part documentary by Al Jazeera, ‘The Labour Files’, which details their skulduggery in great detail. If anything, you may come away feeling that Alan has pulled his punches!

There is a common saying that people get the government they deserve. This saying is actually incorrect, as Trotsky points out in his masterly article, The Class, the Party and the Leadership. The same people can, and do, get very different governments in a very short space of time.

The republication of Alan Woods’ Ireland: Republicanism and Revolution, which has been out of print since 2005, could not have come at a more appropriate time. The British ruling class has just buried a monarch whose reign was synonymous with the long-term ‘managed decline’ of British imperialism. Today, the decay of British imperialism has reached a new, convulsive stage. The Union is fraying at the seams, and the national question is reemerging with renewed force, in Scotland and in the North of Ireland. ...

Yesterday, what is described as the “most right-wing” government since the Second World War was elected to office in Italy, with Fratelli d’Italia [Brothers of Italy], led by Giorgia Meloni, emerging as the first party, with 26 percent of the votes cast. How does one explain this surge in votes for a party that in 2018 won a mere 4.3 percent and elected only 32 MPs and 18 Senators? We will outline in this article the reason why such a radical change has taken place in Italian politics and outline the most likely perspective.

Yesterday, we reported that president Vladimir Putin had declared a partial mobilisation, after Russian forces were driven into a disorganised rout in the Kharkiv Oblast. In this podcast (recorded a few days before Putin’s announcement), Hamid Alizadeh and Jorge Martin, members of the marxist.com editorial board, discuss the main developments in the Ukraine war, and where the conflict is going.

In the last 24 hours, a series of important announcements have been made by Russia regarding the war in Ukraine: partial mobilisation affecting 300,000 people, referendums in the Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine about their annexation to Russia, stiffer sentences for crimes related to military service and the warning that Russia will use “all means at its disposal” to protect its territorial integrity.

The Italians have a phrase for it: È Finita la Commedia – the comedy is over. After 10 days of officially imposed ‘national mourning’, on Monday 19 September at Westminster Abbey – the historic church where Britain's kings and queens are crowned – the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth was held.

Following the death of the Queen, trade union leaders have cancelled planned strike action ‘out of respect’ to the Royal Family. But the Tories and bosses have not paused their class war. The labour movement must mobilise to topple their system.

Sweden’s most racist, nationalistic and out-of-touch election campaign in living memory has produced, appropriately enough, a government with a policy to make life worse for workers, while blaming it on immigrants. But no amount of racist slander can hide the enormous problems facing the Swedish masses. We must prepare for class struggle.

In the last few days, Ukrainian forces have made significant advances on the Kharkiv front, forcing the Russians into a disorganised retreat. Where did this surprise counteroffensive come from and what is its significance for the war overall?

As the country’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II represented a bygone age of stability. Her passing marks the beginning of a new era of crisis; another crumbling pillar of the British establishment, heralding revolutionary upheavals.

With the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September, the British monarchy is once again in the media spotlight. Amidst a flood of reactionary apologias, Marxists must cut through the propaganda and tell the truth about the role of the monarchy in capitalist society. As a result, we republish here an article by Alan Woods, written in 1997 at the time of Princess Diana’s death, analysing the real nature of the monarchy and its position as a fundamental pillar of the British establishment. While the article does not deal with recent events, its in-depth assessment of the role of the Royal Family under capitalism continues to hold true today.